Left to right: Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, Bernie Lee station manager, Sarah Broughton Project Manager at the Bedford Foodbank and Mohammad Yasin MP for Bedford Image GTR

The Railway Food Collection is a partnership between Govia Thameslink Railway and local food banks

Donations at Bedford and Brighton stations meant that 822 meals were given to those in need, following a six-week community pilot scheme from Govia Thameslink Railway and UK charity, The Trussell Trust.

The Railway Food Collection is a partnership between Govia Thameslink Railway and local food banks. It aims to encourage the public and railway staff, to donate food and other essential items to vulnerable people in their local communities.

The pilot helped support The Black & Minority Ethnic Community Partnership (BMECP) Food Bank in Brighton & Hove and the Bedford Foodbank to increase the number of families in crisis that they can support. Sarah Broughton, from The Bedford Foodbank, said:

“We’ve seen a steep increase in the amount of people using our services since Covid-19. We rely on donations from the public to enable us to feed households experiencing food poverty.

“Since March, The Bedford Foodbank has fed 4,340 adults and children. The support from Govia Thameslink and The Railway Food Collection has really helped us at a time we need it most. We are very grateful to all those who donated at Bedford station.”

Bedford Foodbank feeds over 650 people a month

Bedford Foodbank started in 2011 and is part of the Trussell Trust network of Food Banks. The food bank hands out over nine tonnes of non-perishable food a month which currently feeds over 650 people each month from the Bedford Borough area.

Clients can be referred by over 200 referral agencies who are working with users. The clients are given a voucher which they then take to one of seven local distribution centres. Here they are given a food parcel for the number of people in the family to last for 3 days.

In March, Bedford Foodbank fed over 1,000 people and distributed 11 tonnes of food. The organisation is supported by more than 85 volunteers.

Tom Moran, managing director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said:

“We know that demand for food banks soared during the pandemic and resources continue to be stretched.

“The Railway Food Collection pilot has helped to deliver essential items in both Bedfordshire and Brighton and we are really grateful to all those who have donated.

“The six-week pilot has been very successful in supporting local communities and we are currently looking at ways to continue the scheme.”